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TV REVIEW: Mama Drama in Once Upon a Time’s “Mother”

BY The Screen Spy Team

Published 7 years ago

TV REVIEW: Mama Drama in Once Upon a Time's “Mother”

By Meredith Loftus

Once’s “Mother” explored mother-daughter dynamics, specifically among three pairs that are not in the best of shape, last night.

All three of these mothers were willing to do whatever it took to resolve the issues between themselves and their daughters. This episode reminds the audience of the importance of this relationship; two curses on the show were previously broken with True Love’s Kiss between a mother and her child. Being the episode before the finale, Mother brought resolution to many stories and set the stage well for the epic two-hour season finale next week.


Mother Dearest

On the anniversary of Daniel’s death, Regina visits her first love’s grave only to discover that someone is there waiting for her: Cora, her formerly banished mother. Thanks to the White Rabbit, Cora has come back from Wonderland to try and reconcile her relationship with her daughter by helping her find new love. She finds Tinkerbell who tells her about Regina’s soulmate, the man with the lion tattoo, and makes it her mission to find him for Regina. Cora travels to a tavern and meets the Sheriff of Nottingham, who informs her that the man she seeks is currently married. Still seeking to make her daughter happy, Cora gives the Sheriff a lion tattoo and tries to pass him off as Regina’s soulmate. Regina is initially excited at the prospect of new love but quickly catches on that this man is not her soulmate due to his arrogant behavior. She uses her magic to transform the lion tattoo into a miniature lion and questions the Sheriff about Cora and her motives; he tells her that he was promised a crown in exchange for giving Regina love and eventually a child. Regina locks him away in the dungeon. She confronts her mother about her deception and Cora rationalizes that she wanted her daughter to have love in her life, even though her soulmate is currently taken. Regina demands to know why Cora wanted her to have a child so badly; Cora thought that a child would be just what she needed. Not believing her mother, Regina drinks a potion that makes her barren. In response, Cora admits that she was wrong about love being weakness. She truly loves her daughter and wants her to happy. Regina demands that she return to Wonderland and Cora leaves her daughter with one final word of advice: the only person standing in the way of your happiness is you. In the past, Cora is arguably one of the worst mothers on Once Upon A Time; she abandoned Zelena after her birth and she crushed the heart of Regina’s first love. In this flashback, however, we see her genuinely trying to make up for her mistakes. Maybe she did have a heart after all and we’ll come to look back at her with new perspective?



(ABC/Jack Rowand)

Picking up the Pieces

Robin and Regina go to a bar to discuss the bombshell that is Zelena’s pregnancy. Robin is grieving the real loss of Marian, worried about explaining this to Roland, and torn between the woman he loves and his code of honor to be there for his future child. Regina suggests giving Roland a memory potion to avoid explaining the loss of his mother again. She is still hurt by Robin’s ability to move on and knowing that his child with Zelena will be an obstacle for them. They decide the best thing they can do now is to return to Storybrooke and figure out where to go from there.

Rumple’s condition worsens as time goes on. In Granny’s diner Isaac explains to Rumple that in order to activate the ink, they need Emma’s dark blood. Hook interrupts the two and informs Rumple that not only is Emma on her way back to Storybrooke but she has not turned dark. Hook knows that Rumple’s heart is almost charred and can’t hurt anyone without risking what remains of his life; he boasts that he can finally get his happy ending and Rumple will never get his. Rumple and Isaac leave desperate to find a loophole to his impending doom.

Snow, Charming, Hook, and Henry greet Emma, Lily, Regina, Robin, Roland, and Zelena when they return to Storybrooke. After a warm welcome for Henry and Hook (and a cold shoulder to Snow), Emma reunites Lily with Maleficent, who is overjoyed to be with her daughter at last. However, Lily puts reunion on hold in favor of seeking revenge against Snow and Charming; she’s more interested in getting back at them than bonding with her mother at Granny’s. When Maleficent makes it clear she has no interest in going after Snow and Charming, Lily leaves with the intentions of leaving Storybrooke for good.


Unleashing the Dragon

Regina places mother-to-be, Zelena, in one of the rooms in the asylum at the hospital; she does this to keep her in a secure place while she figures out what she’s going to do. Naturally, she goes to Rumple’s shop to take back the Author and her chance at a happy ending. His condition has worsened when she finds him there and poses no threat to her as she grabs the quill and Isaac from him. Safe in her vault, Isaac is eager to help Regina because she was a personal favorite of his to write about. Although she’s been screwed over the most in the past, Regina is determined to finally get what she deserves. Instead of antagonizing Emma, Regina takes some of Lily’s dark blood; what Regina fails to realize is that triggers Lily’s anger to lash out in the form of a dragon.

Maleficent goes to the Charming loft to seek help and motherly advice from Snow; she’s desperate to keep her daughter in town because she can’t leave to go after her. Lily’s behavior reminds Snow and Charming of how Emma was when they reunited with her after the first curse is broken. They agree to help Maleficent find her daughter, creating peace between them. On the edge of town, they find Lily in dragon form. Maleficent, Snow, and Charming follow Lily to a clearing near the woods. Lily is spazzing out because this is her first time turning into a dragon, and Maleficent tries to help her. Concerned for Maleficent, Snow goes after her, gets in Lily’s way, and gets knocked out from Lily’s dragon tail.



(ABC/Jack Rowand)

Restored Relationships

Emma and Hook take advantage of a quiet moment out at the docks, enjoying each other’s presence. Hook is very protective of Emma’s heart, whether it’s being threatened physically or emotionally; because of this and being attuned to her needs, he knows that her heart is still uneasy. Although Emma has stood firm against Rumple’s games to turn her dark, Hook addresses the fact that she has continued to push her parents away and needs to reconcile with them. He explains that her parents have done everything to become the people she could proud of. Emma, in return, expresses that she likes people more when they discover their good hearts along the way, directing this comment to her pirate. These words resonate with him, but it doesn’t deter him from reminding her that Snow and Charming protected her so she would be happy and be proud of who they are. Hook knows how to support her as well as give her wise counsel. He has become a man that Emma is proud to have beside her in life, and because of this she ponders his words to her.

ONCE UPON A TIME - "Mother" - Emma returns to Storybrooke to reunite Lily with Maleficent while Regina and Robin struggle to cope with the implications of Zelena's pregnancy. When Gold's health takes a turn for the worse, Isaac looks to a new ally for help procuring the magic ink he needs to re-write history. In a Fairy Tale Land flashback, Cora returns from Wonderland to beg Regina's forgiveness on the anniversary of Daniel's murder. Cora vows to help her daughter find true love, but Regina remains suspicious of her mother's intentions, on "Once Upon a Time," SUNDAY, MAY 3 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Jack Rowand) JENNIFER MORRISON, COLIN O'DONOGHUE

(ABC/Jack Rowand)

After finding out Snow was injured, Emma and Hook rush to Snow’s side. Emma heals Snow’s wounds and begins to heal their strained relationship. Snow apologizes for letting Emma down as her mom. Emma assures her that she didn’t; she tells her that her actions didn’t change the fact that she is a hero, a good person, and her mother. Snow is human and made a mistake, and Emma acknowledges that it’s time she stopped punishing her. She misses her close relationship she had with her mom and forgives her. This is a beautiful moment between Snow and Emma, mother and daughter.

Maleficent finds Lily after transforming back to her human form. She gives her the rattle she was supposed to have. Maleficent wants nothing more than to make up for lost time with Lily but is willing to take any kind of relationship with her because she loves her. Lily admits that she was afraid to have a relationship with her mom because she destroys everything she touches. Maleficent assures her that she can always handle a little darkness and offers to teach her how to control herself as a dragon if Lily stays in Storybrooke for a week. Another mother-daughter relationship begins to heal and develop.



(ABC/Jack Rowand)

Happy Endings

Regina and Isaac meet Zelena in her cell to determine Zelena’s fate. With the Author on her side, Regina is finally going to get her happy ending: by showing Zelena mercy. Instead of completely writing Zelena out of existence, Regina decides to stop getting in the way of her happiness. Regina’s happy ending is simply feeling like she belongs in the world, a world that Robin Hood and Henry happen to be a part of. Her happy ending reflects people’s desires of belonging and acceptance; we trade pieces of ourselves in order to find acceptance from our peers, family, or society. This can never truly satisfy us. The only person standing in the way of pursuing your dreams and finding happiness is you.

After Robin and Regina make up, Isaac’s services are no longer needed. He writes himself into the presence of Rumple and together they begin to rewrite the history of all the characters, where the villains become the heroes and get their happy endings. This time, the book is called “Heroes & Villains” and Isaac begins the tale with the phrase “once upon a time.” Roll credits!


Worth Mentioning

  • Yes, I caught that Annie Hall reference Lily used about Maleficent’s clothes. I can’t help but agree.
  • Regina shows Isaac Page 23 and he reveals that it’s an experimental page from another book he was working on. Was he writing a book where his favorite characters got happy endings? If that book was finished, would its contents come to pass? I hope we get answers to this in the season finale.
  • Who told Hook about Rumple’s heart condition?
  • Zelena had way too much rubbing it Regina’s face that she succeeded in getting in the way of her happy ending, as well as showing no remorse to Emma for killing Neal. She is truly wicked and she has been missed.
  • I think we just need to accept that we probably will not get answers about Will Scarlett in Storybrooke until Season 5. Also, we should just assume baby Neal and Roland have been looked after this whole time.
  • Cora was the Queen of Hearts so naturally she crossed paths with the White Rabbit and had him do her bidding. What I’m curious about is her past with Tinkerbell. When did she cross paths with her to find out about Regina’s soulmate?
  • One mystery I want solved by the end of the season finale is the identity of the Sorcerer. His presence was teased in the season premiere; he has the most power in the world of Once Upon A Time. It would be a good wrap up to include or even use as the catalyst for the next season.


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